142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Impact of a Basic Income program on Canadian seniors' health and mental health

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 12:30 PM - 12:42 PM

Lynn McIntyre, MD, MHSc, FRCPC , Dept. of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
JC Herbert Emery, PhD , Dept. of Economics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Valerie C Fleisch, PhD , Dept. of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Daniel J Dutton, PhD(c) , School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
INTRODUCTION: Basic Income is income unconditionally granted individually to persons without means testing. In Canada, persons 65 years and older receive Old Age Security, which is taxable, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which is not.  For the poorest seniors, the maximum amount received through both sources is $15,600 CAD per year.  The objective of this study is to determine the impact on self-reported health and mental health of persons who become age-eligible for this Basic Income program.

METHODS:  We used the 2009–2010 Canadian Community Health Survey, which cross-sectionally collects health and socio-demographic data from a large representative sample of the Canadian population. We examined unmarried respondents with income $20,000 or less stratified by age (55-64 years; not Basic Income eligible and 65–74 years; Basic Income eligible). Probit models for poor health and poor mental health as outcomes were created considering sex, year-by-year age, income, and income source.

RESULTS: Turning 65 changes the main personal income source for low-income Canadians to Basic Income. We found no direct effect of income on health outcomes for this low-income group but we did find that changing income source to Basic Income reduced the probability of poor health by 0.15 and the probability of poor mental health by 0.085.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that the receipt of Basic Income after age 65 improves the health and mental health of low-income Canadians. Government policy to raise the entitlement age for Basic Income to 67 will compromise the health and mental health of vulnerable seniors.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Biostatistics, economics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the impact on self-reported health and self-reported mental health of a Basic Income program (Canadian seniors' benefits) on low-income adults aged 55-74 years. Explain how variation in income level and income source from Basic Income contributes to health improvement in Canadians aged 55-74 years.

Keyword(s): Aging, Federal Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have co-authored two papers on this topic and supported these analyses for several years. I am an established public health and inequities researcher and university professor with well over 100 publications and several millions of dollars of research funding held over my career.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.